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GAME PREVIEW: Warriors Host Vipers For First Time At RLP This Season

PHOTO: Lisa Mazurek/Lisa Mazurek Photography

The West Kelowna Warriors look for a strong finish to Parent’s Weekend as they host the Vernon Vipers for the first time this season at Royal LePage Place on Saturday night.

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Warriors vs. Vipers 2017/18 Schedule:

Saturday, October 28th @ Kal Tire Place (5-2 Vipers) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, November 4th @ Kal Tire Place (5-3 Vipers) (BOXSCORE)

Wednesday, November 15th @ Kal Tire Place (3-2 Vipers/OT) (BOXSCORE)

Saturday, November 25th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)
Tuesday, January 16th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

Friday, January 26th @ Royal LePage Place (7:00 PM)

The Warriors and Vipers have played three games in their six game season series thus far with Vernon coming away with wins in all three games that have been played in Kal Tire Place with the first meeting between the two sides taking place in West Kelowna will be tonight. Jimmy Lambert scored 1:04 into the double overtime period as the Vipers came away with a 3-2 victory the last time these two teams played with Michael Ryan and Stephen Kleysen providing the offence in the game. Cody Porter turned aside 47 of the 50 shots he faced in the game.

West Kelowna enters Saturday night’s contest after a strong performance on home ice from just one night ago as the Warriors defeated the Merritt Centennials by a 7-2 score. RJ Murphy, Parm Dhaliwal, Spencer Hora, Willie Reim, Jared Marino, Jordan Todd and Michael Lombardi all tallied in the Warriors victory while Nik Amundrud stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced in his first appearance in nine games to pick up his 7th win of the season.

Warriors Leading Scorers:

Jared Marino (10-12-22)

Chase Dubois (9-13-22)

Michael Ryan (3-18-21)

Parm Dhaliwal (6-13-19)

RJ Murphy (8-9-17)

With solid games on Friday night, the “Stars and Stripes” line that consists of three American-born forwards in RJ Murphy, Mike Lombardi and Willie Reim extended their stretches of solid play. Murphy and Reim each have points in 3 of their last 4 games while Lombardi has points in 8 of the last 9 games he’s played in and has 5 goals and 11 points in 13 games since coming to West Kelowna from Chilliwack.

Nik Amundrud returned to the Warriors lineup on Friday night and made a big impression, making 35 saves on 37 shots for his 7th win of the season. The Melfort, Saskatchewan native improved his goals against average as it sits at 2.80 and a nice save percentage of .916. The 20-year-old crease keeper will man the net for the Warriors tonight.

In lineup news for the Warriors, forward Parm Dhaliwal will not play due to an injury he suffered from Friday night’s game as Mason Richey will make his BCHL debut with the Warriors, wearing number 26. The Terrace, BC native has played in 98 career games with the BC Major Midget League’s Cariboo Cougars, scoring 47 goals and 99 points in that span. This season, Richey leads the Cougars with 9 goals and 25 points in 18 games played in 2017/18.

The Vernon Vipers enter Saturday night’s contest with a 18-6-4-0 record and sit in 1st place in the Interior Division and are coming off of a 4-0 victory against the Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday night at Cominco Arena. Newcomer Sam Anzai, Michael Young, Brett Stapley and Josh Prokop scored in the game for the Vipers while Anthony Yamnitsky made 28 saves for his 2nd shutout of the season and 7th of his BCHL career.

Vipers Leading Scorers:

Brett Stapley (15-20-45)

Jimmy Lambert (11-24-35)

Michael Ufberg (5-23-28)

Jagger Williamson (9-15-24)

Jordan Sandhu (9-11-20)

The Vipers can score as they hold the 3rd most goals in the BCHL with 102 but have also been rather stingy when it comes to the defensive side of the puck. Vernon ranks 3rd in the league in goals against with 62 in 27 games so far this season and the Vipers sit number one in the BCHL with a goal differential of +50.

Not only is Vernon good when on the power play and penalty kill, but they have an element of surprise with 9 shorthanded goals this season and can create plenty of turnovers when on the PK. The Vipers come into the Saturday night showdown with the 4th best power play in the BCHL at 20.6% while penalty kill ranks at 82.9% compared to the Warriors 10th ranked power play at 18.8% 4th ranked PK at 84.4%.

The Warriors and Vipers drop the puck tonight at 7:00 PM with a short presentation in the pre-game ceremonies as the Warriors are honoring their parents to the ice. Tickets available for the game are online at wkw.goticketpro.com, at the Warriors office, by calling (250) 769-7051 or at the box office ahead of the opening face-off.